Call for hair stories!

Hello all women, womyn and girls with hair stories!

I am soliciting stories for a collection of women’s accounts of their own hair that I’m compiling. My aim within this project is to represent a wide range of women and hair: age, ethnicity, hair length, texture, etc. If you identify as female, have ever had hair and thought about it, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like a prompt, here are a few:

1. Can you detail the decision process that went into your hair length? If you have long hair, why? If short, why?
2. What are people’s memorable reactions to your hair?
3. a. If you’ve ever drastically changed your hair in length/color/texture, how did you feel? Do you feel that it changed how you were perceived, or even how you perceived yourself?
    b. if you’ve had a consistent hair style for a long time, do you ever think about a radical change but don’t go through with it? Why do you think you haven’t?
4. Do you ever experience hair envy? Of whom/ which hair type(s)?
5. If you’d like to add any other musings on your hair or a specific hair philosophy that you hold, please do.

Please respond in the comments or to emilyshortshorts@gmail.com.

 

Thank you!

 

On Burlesque

graduate

I used to think the internet existed for women to shout “I’m pretty!” into the void. Wishful thinking:  clearly the internet exists for women to ask: “Am I pretty?”

The same could be said for the material world itself, as anyone who has ever consumed social media or witnessed the act of an adult human who is not a sex worker wearing a dress that doesn’t quite cover her vagina will attest. Last night, I was cajoled into attending a burlesque event, which proved to be an extended, IRL selfie.

By definition, the history of  of burlesque includes an element of irony or parody. Unless these twenty-something women (all white) writhing around on a bar stage in suede boots and acrylic minis intended a knowing wink at and challenge of the commodification that women so eagerly assign to themselves, I missed any ounce of ironic intent.

As a generation of women raised post-riot grrrl and instead deep in the throes of the TRL era’s boring stock version of “sex”, we all just want our moment of Britney. That is, the blankest, most sexually accessible version of ourselves to be flattened on to the weak imaginations of as many men as our bustlines will allow.  Even as women born in the 1980s in one of the most culturally liberal democracies on the planet, we still seek validation as successful beings primarily through the physical, specifically the body.
Perhaps most curiously, once  the Catholic school collar/ fuzzy bra/”sexy” signifier was removed from the adult sentient human by herself in front of a crowd of half-drunks in a bar on a Monday night, all nipples were x-ed with black electrical tape (perhaps in current vogue thanks to the current grande dame of boring sexualism, Gaga). Does a bar need a license for nipples, like it needs one to serve alcohol on its patio? The actual sexuality of the female, then, becomes not something she owns but something that’s regulated by someone who is not her, thus able to be bought and sold. The nipples concealed somehow seem the least subversive thing of all– a rule followed, the final vestige of female nakedness just another secret kept to better tantalize the male. Radical, indeed. Anyone who didn’t yawn their way through has watched far less MTV than I, and are perhaps that much better off.

mass violence: simulated, real, and the inability to tell the difference.

In The Dark Knight Rises’ unsettling centerpiece, Bane hijacks a stadium of screaming Gothamites as the city crumbles completely around them, resulting in a sort of orgasmic visual dénouement that only a $230 million  superhero movie would attempt.  Sitting in the (police-guarded) theatre watching this scene, I wondered why I’d paid to feel so uncomfortable: terror as entertainment seems an indulgence when people around the world experience such scenes of decadent bloodshed (or at least the fear of such) as their daily reality. I often get into arguments with friends and acquaintances over issues of cinematic violence; I’m preternaturally squeamish and unconditioned to the gory trauma, both visual and psychological, that serve as most Hollywood blockbusters’ most alluring selling point (the general consensus is that no one else seems to mind).

On Marathon Monday in Boston, I thought back to Bane and his takeover of Gotham during a football game. I wasn’t in Copley Square, but instead in my kitchen about a mile away from downtown. Cryptic text messages from my mom and a friend alerted me to the bombs at the marathon; phone service was down.  My stomach turned with the proximity of the danger, and then again at the sickening familiarity of what has now become a sort of regular occurrence of life in America: unnatural disaster in some form, a shooting, a bombing, a tragedy. Earlier this year, the city was shut down for Nemo, and before that, Sandy. In order to most effectively live in America now, should we cautiously expect random acts of terror much in the same way that we anticipate inclement weather? Bring an umbrella;  get ready to sprint from a crowd?

And within minutes of the news breaking, texts pour in from friends and relatives, close and long-lost, neighboring and the farthest-reaching. Far from the scene but close enough, the events themselves are experienced almost exclusively in digital format: the ever-tactful Huffington Post with their sans-serif shout BOSTON MAYHEM, controversial tweets and well-meaning but ultimately useless hash-tags (#prayforboston: thanks or something).

In my crude search for some semblance of a live feed, I accidentally, regrettably, listened to footage from the first blast. A pop, a beat, then the screams: I’ve seen this one before. We’re so inured to such scenes that it becomes nearly impossible to discern the simulacrum from the original.

Mayor Menino recommended that everyone stay inside for the evening. Never before have I been unable to leave the house for fear of my own safety in the wake of a disaster that doesn’t involve three feet of snow, which is indeed a luxury. From inside the house as the sun set, I listened as the birds chirped almost perversely, and reggaeton returned to the street in the usual passing blurs. Tweets turned back to regularly scheduled selfies and hopefully we can leave the house again tomorrow.

punk and other demons.

My dearest subscriber[s] to Emily Magazine and other stalkers,

I know you’re like OH GOD WHERE R THOSE POSTS THAT SHED NEW LITE ON THE HUMAN CONDITION WAT HAPPEND 2 HER etc etc. There’s no good answer other than the fact that I can’t ever finish what I start whether it’s  a sandwich or Anna Karenina, plus I’ve been RLLY busy feeling weird about Franco on “Freaks and Geeks” and making these:

awesome

Last night I went to a “punk show” in a sweaty donation-run venue; cigarettes were smoked two at a time by the trombonist (tru punx, that) (inside, I might add, like it was 2001 in Tulsa) and some cartoon porn played behind them. Usual Tuesday shit.  There were three bands, including the newest project of Das Racist’s Kool AD, Party Animal. Somewhere between the first and last bands, that gnawing little voice that sometimes strikes when I go to shows crawled into my cranium: where are the girls with something to say? [And before you’re like, OH GOD HERE SHE GOES AGAIN, let me just say that if that thought exists in your mind, you are already extinct, the world doesn’t need you anymore and is waiting for you to end. (Tuff love.) ]Anecdotally, over the past ten years, I’ve been to hundreds of shows: let’s estimate I’ve seen about 200 bands that average 4 people each. That’s 800 people, and I’d guess about 20 to 30 of those people have been female. And not because of any vendetta of my own against female performers, but based mostly on a wide survey of both fringe and popular acts of multiple genres over the past decade.

In Lester Bangs‘ 1979 piece “White Noise Supremacists,” he calls bullshit on what he perceived as overt racism in his own circle, the New York underground. He does, however, manage to call Nico a “cunt,” while maintaining that sexism in the scene was “even more pervasive.”

Thanks to the iron fist of prep school set in a cultural vacuum,  my own introduction to a scene of any sort came woefully late: I was a sophomore in college and new to Burlington, Vermont (but of course, the reason prep school exists at all is to keep its minions’ eye on the prize of Adam Smith). My new best friend Meredith was a product of New England punk the way I was of Mid-Atlantic radio, and she knew a band who described their sound as falling in the middle of Bad Brains and Cat Stevens. After our first meeting at the state fair riding the ferris wheel, putting our lives in the hands of the drunk carnies blaring Master of Puppets, we began spending Friday nights with them. Our evenings became marathons of Scattergories, Genesee Cream Ale and Emilio Estevez’s greatest hits. We went to their shows at 242 Main, an all-ages venue in Burlington (initiated in the 80s by then-mayor Bernie Sanders, the last governmental paragon of the Radical Left, currently one of the only senators who finds time in his schedule to acknowledge wealth disparity and corporate oligarchy in this country). On Halloween, Meredith and I paid tribute to Marc Bolan and David Bowie by dressing as our imagined cover band, Peppers & Milk (named for Bowie’s alleged diet during “Young Americans”-era coke fiending). At 242, Meredith had a literal pissing contest in the co-ed bathroom with a guy in a Captain’s hat (who suffered from performance anxiety).

The guys, raised in a small punk microcosm were like no one I’d met before, and became my own standard of males my age. Everyone else at school lived for snowboarding, Phish and weed. Around the Scattergories board, a T was rolled, and one of the prompts was some variation of a come-on. “Ten, like perfect ten,” said one of the guys. “But that’s stupid and sexist,” he continued. The next guy, who we didn’t know as well, was up. “I put tits comma bitch,” he said without missing a beat. We all erupted in laughter. Over another game and another case of Gennessee, a guy who was visiting from out of town mused, “Well girls can’t be punks because girls are just girls.” Meredith WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-ed her indignation. Later our friend told us he was just quoting a song. But the question remained: what were we? Friends, fans, audience members? Just girls?

Discussing this over $10 manhattans with a friend last night between sets (punk as fuk), she posited that it’s not “part of the female ego” to get up in front of a room full of people/ the world and express oneself. It’s a theory impossible to truly assess, but there’s  something inherently imbalanced about the cultural constant of woman as spectator. In our (ahem) post-punk world, why is it still radical for a woman to demand an audience? If that’s the general cultural consensus, punk failed. so. fucking. hard., and we’re as provincial as Joanie and Chachi. The baddest female I’ve ever seen in person was at a basement metal show in Portland, 2009: all denim, leopard undercut, shredded like a fucking boss. Pimply audience bros didn’t stand a chance.

I’m tending to side with Kate Carraway on this one, who listed “Trying” under her list of “What Girls Hate”:

“…I was listing on a scrap of paper the bands that my guy friends have started (which number infinity) and the number of bands that my girl friends have started (two). I think I am just going to radicalize myself and my choices and stop assessing and advising on how a lot of women are too uncomfortable and too threatened by doing anything/having an opinion/saying anything to be creative or have a good time or whatever because there is too much to it and I feel like being a bitch about it makes me a ‘Smile!’ guy but with reverse intentions. I do have this idea that instead of telling each other to “S a D” we should say ‘D some S.'”

Obviously I’m another useless idealist who dreams of a world built from punk shows where humans of all sorts share their voices and jump around and everyone high fives everyone else. Party Animal’s battle cry is a song called “Inappropriate Boner”: maybe it’s that fear that keeps the keys to the stage in the boy’s pockets.

In like [ ]

poolside

Let’s get caffeinated and pretend we’re going to “work on things” and then read this instead.  And all of these.

And, breaking: the secret to eternal youth is moving every 2 years to new basement shows full of 23 year olds. (Not necessarily an endorsement.)

Spending Valentine’s Day listening to friends complain about their paramours makes one re-think the “ideal” commitment and opt for illicit scandal instead. (call me)

Related: What’s New Pussycat (1965) was one of the swinging-est flicks I caught in 2012. Peter O’Toole as a womanizing ginger: yez plz.

 

Let’s make like Exxon Mobile and all other great American corporo-citizens, and cheat on our taxes.